In accepting Theresa May’s offer for talks on 2 April, Jeremy Corbyn has proven he’s acting like the real UK prime minister.
It’s a bit rich
May, meanwhile, has spent over two years sidelining parliament. She tried to force through her deal three times, only to suffer huge governmental defeats. Instead of taking no deal off the table, the Conservative leader consistently weaponised the threat. Even now it’s unclear if she is willing to move significantly away from her red lines.
By contrast, Corbyn has always tried to compromise on Brexit. Labour’s longstanding proposal tried to honour the Good Friday Agreement through a customs union and single market alignment. Indeed, the solution Labour offered garnered favourable responses from the EU. The European parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator said Labour’s “cross-party cooperation is the way forward” back in February. And Corbyn’s aim to compromise has only increased over time. Take the second round of indicative votes, where Labour backed both soft Brexit motions and the one calling for a confirmatory vote on any Brexit deal.
Please, Mr Corbyn
Then there’s the Conservative Party. In the second round of indicative votes, Tory MPs overwhelmingly voted down every compromise, pushing us closer towards no deal. That came after May suffered yet another humiliating defeat. Parliament thwarted May’s attempt to stop the indicative votes even happening by 45 votes.
Now, May has succumbed to essentially begging the leader of the opposition for help. But May’s offer for talks rings hollow when she’s ignored almost everyone except her closest advisers throughout the Brexit process. May only asked opposition leaders to get involved on 17 January 2019. Still, she refused to change her red lines, reducing that meeting to a pointless showboating exercise. On top of that, the prime minister only phoned the leaders of the two largest unions on 10 January. These are not the actions of a prime minister who ever wanted to build a genuine consensus.
In stark contrast, Corbyn ‘reached out’ to May in his Labour conference speech in September 2018, outlining the type of soft Brexit he thinks can pass through parliament. Seven months later and May appears to be finally turning around to what Corbyn has said all along.
Through trying to mediate between parliament’s opposing positions, Corbyn has acted like a true statesman. Whereas May has only played playground politics to try and force through her disastrous deal. She should have resigned long ago.
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